Phnom Penh’s growing importance as a business destination has brought with it many opportunities and infused the market with a growing sense of ambition. Few developments embody this new ambition better than Vattanac Capital Tower, which will throw open its doors this spring.
“Cambodia’s seen nothing like it,” says Neil Brown, property services manager at Vattanac Capital Tower. As we strolled around the nearly finished building in hardhats, I had a chance to see why the building was awarded the best commercial property in Southeast Asia at the South East Asia Property Awards in Singapore last year.
Shaped like a dragon’s back and incorporating elements of fengshui and traditional Naga motifs, the 188-metre, 39-storey Vattanac Capital Tower already dominates Phnom Penh’s skyline. When complete – the first offices will open in spring 2014 – the development will consist of four different zones: an office zone featuring 21 floors of grade A office space, a luxury retail zone, an ultra-luxury five-star Rosewood hotel on the top 14 floors and a ‘lifestyle cube’ featuring international-standard medical, education and entertainment facilities.
LEED Silver-certified Vattanac Capital Tower is notable for many reasons, but in terms of Phnom Penh’s development it is most significant for introducing true grade A office space to Cambodia. The office zone entrance features an access control system that requires either an employee swipe card or registering with security for a guest card.
After passing security, there is a bank of elevators waiting for passengers. Elevator traffic can be an issue at many office buildings around Phnom Penh, so the designers of Vattanac Capital Tower made room for 30 Schindler and 2 Kone elevators which will serve dedicated floors and are supposed to arrive within an average of 35 seconds of a passenger calling for a lift.
Much attention has been given to headroom height in the office section. By opting for at least 2.8 meters clear headroom height between floors, Vattanac Capital has created column-free and comfortable work spaces sitting on raised floors which allow for easy and flexible cable and data management. Brown said that had standard office height been used, the building could have had another ten storeys. Walking through an east-facing office with a view of the Tonle Sap and Mekong rivers, it’s difficult to imagine a more prestigious office location in town.
In the office zone it appears that the tiniest details have been considered. Even the bathrooms are fitted out to five-star hotel standards. Every floor also has disabled bathroom and a shower – always handy in a tropical country.
Office occupancy at Vattanac Capital Tower is currently around 50 per cent for the initial phase and so far is made up of primarily of multinational companies, Brown said. Vattanac’s property and retail arms will move into the office zone first in early 2014.
The development’s retail zone is also more than 50 per cent filled up, and will be key to the project’s branding. Vattanac Capital has been highly selective regarding which retailers are allowed to occupy one of the 32 units within the open and spacious retail zone that faces toward Monivong Boulevard.
Gayle Hockin, Vattanac Properties sales and marketing assistant, who also joined our tour of the site, wouldn’t say which luxury brands would be open when Vattanac Capital Tower celebrates its grand opening in April. But she promised they would be big.
“This is the first time these brands have come to Cambodia, so it’s very exciting,” Hockin said.
The five-star hotel managed by US-based Rosewood will not be involved in the grand opening, but its launch in 2015 will no doubt be a big event. Occupying floors 25 through 39, the ultra luxury Rosewood Phnom Penh will not only have a swimming pool on the 33rd floor, it will also offer unrivalled views of the city from its 378-square-metre viewing platform on the 37th floor. Additionally, all of Rosewood Phnom Penh’s 175 rooms and suites will have breathtaking views of the city and its surroundings.
Last but not least, the lifestyle cube at Vattanac Capital Tower will offer a state-of-the-art cinema complex, international medical services, a high-end food court and even a business school. With the lifestyle cube, Vattanac Capital Tower adds another layer of depth to its offerings, Hockin said.
“Someone working in one of the offices might want to see a dentist, they can just come down and go across to the lifestyle cube -- we’re going to have everything under one roof,” she said.
In the end, Vattanac Capital Tower may be another mixed-use property development, but Brown sees it as a turning point for the country’s development.
“It’s being built with Cambodian investment,” he said, “I think it will be a source of local pride and a symbol of the future of this country.”